You just crossed the finish line; congratulations on running 26.2 miles and not breaking down! Now the tough, for some, and more complicated part begins. How do you recover as soon as possible so you can run at optimal level again?
However, just the idea of taking some time off after a marathon is enough to drive some runners crazy. And implementing a recovery plan that involves a few days without any running at all leaves many athletes worrying about maintaining their hard earned fitness.
“Rest is one of the most important aspects of a successful training regimen but for some reason is commonly overlooked,” Physical Therapist Dr. John Gallucci, Jr., MS, ATC, PT, DPT says. “Asking the body to perform at peak levels when its supporting structures are weakened is a leading cause of injury and should be avoided.”
But you can’t be a couch potato either. This is just not in your nature. In the case, cross-training or participating in different low-impact activities gives the “stressed” body part the time it needs to heal while developing a healthier body, Dr. Gallucci adds.
There is no single answer to how long you should wait between marathons. “Unfortunately, there is no magic answer here,” he says. “It is important to listen to you own body and it will tell you when it is ready and when it is not. There are some runners who like to go out for a jog the day after a long race and others who won’t run for a month.” Each person is unique and, therefore, recovery times always vary.